Haley St

The Channel Islands YMCA expanded its services for “transitional-age” youth (ages 17-24) experiencing homelessness with a first-of-its-kind facility on Santa Barbara’s Eastside.

Over the weekend, Channel Islands YMCA hosted an open house at the center — which officially opened its doors on January 30 — where staff provided a look into what resources will be offered, such as storage, showers, laundry, free “grab-n-go” meals, and computers with internet service.

“We didn’t have anything like this before,” said Channel Islands YMCA Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Heinen-Stiffler. “It’s kind of like a one-stop shop.”

While youth ages 12-18 could obtain free services at the YMCA’s Noah’s Anchorage on Bath Street, those same youth would age out of services at age 18, she said, leaving them on their own to navigate a bureaucratic and complex adult resource system usually geared toward individuals much older experiencing chronic homelessness.

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